Blue Jays: The Donaldson rumours are already starting

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Donaldson
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Josh Donaldson /

As the Blue Jays head into their final series of the weekend, it would appear that many eyes are already on the 2018 season.

The offseason rumour mill is starting a little early for the Blue Jays this year, as they still have three games remaining in the season. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop the Josh Donaldson rumours from popping up on Friday.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted that the Cardinals are expected to make a strong pursuit Donaldson this offseason in hopes of upgrading the middle of their lineup.

There were rumours earlier in the season that the Cardinals were interested in Donaldson, so this one is pretty easy to believe. The Cardinals had a pretty disappointing season overall, missing the playoffs and poised to finish third in the NL Central behind the Chicago Cubs and upstart Milwaukee Brewers.

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Third base wasn’t necessarily the major problem for the Cards with Jedd Gyorko and others at the hot corner, but their lineup is lacking an elite hitter, something Donaldson would provide to any team in baseball. They also have some moving pieces on the team, so it’s possible they could fit Gyorko elsewhere while Donaldson took over at third.

Of course, how to proceed with Donaldson will be one of, if not the most discussed topic around the Blue Jays this offseason. He has just one year remaining of club control and will be a free agent after the 2018 season, unless of course he’s extended before then. He’ll be 32 on opening day in 2018 as well, and based on the way he’s performed in the second half I would say it’s safe to assume he’s got some elite baseball left in him.

If the Cardinals are serious about acquiring the former AL MVP, they’re likely going to have to blow the Blue Jays away with an offer. From what we’ve been told by the front office and from the maneuvering I’ve watched thus far, I believe that they intend to compete in 2018, but that will be almost impossible to do without their best offensive player.

That said, everything has a price in a business like baseball, so I wouldn’t rule it out even if you’re like me and think the Blue Jays have designs on contending next year. There are solid arguments for why the Blue Jays should a) Offer Donaldson a contract extension beyond 2018, b) Shop him during the offseason, c) Trade him at next year’s trade deadline if the team is out of contention, so it’s difficult to predict which way Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins will go here.

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It’ll definitely be interesting to watch, and don’t be surprised if we see a lot more tweets like Nightengale’s popping up in the coming months.